Sigh. Reprise is another casualty of AMPAS’s preference for foreign-language films designed and produced for American consumption. This groovy little film is spiked with an arresting, hyper-saturated mix of sadness and joy, always acknowledging the dangers and wonders of friendship and the strange ways in which our mind works to tease, elate and sometimes confound us. Director Joachim Trier is always playing with the structure of film, not unlike his characters’ attempts to play with words. He first entertains an alternate reality in which friends Philip (Anders Danielsen Lie) and Erick (Espen Klouman-Høiner) write books that become cult masterpieces with people the world over, only to then rewind and see what really happens when the duo send off manuscripts of their first novels. Erick encounters humbling bumps on his road to accomplishment while Philip’s instantaneous success, compounded with his ecstatic relationship to the lovely Kari (Viktoria Winge), leads him down a road toward psychosis. An example of the film’s wit and insight into how the mind grips us during moments of crisis is a scene when Erick’s attempt to break up with his girlfriend but is distracted by a memory from his youth of his mother admonishing him for looking at porn on her computer. In another scene, when Erick is giving his first television interview about his book, whose cover is inspired by a photograph he and Philip took (with the lens cap still on the camera) of an elusive writer named Sten Egil Dahl (Sigmund Sæverud), he uses his fingers to make virtual quotation marks in the same obnoxious fashion as one of his friends. More haunting is Philip’s desperate attempt to rebuild his past by attempting to relive a trip to Paris with Karim, or that quick but bolting moment of shock that washes over Erick’s face when he takes in his publisher’s observation that Philip’s mental sickness may be connected to the way their friends interact with each other. The film is loaded with one moment of bliss, shock and awe after another as lives cross and crash into each other in the same spirited way the celluloid slows down, pauses and rewinds the hopes and memories of these characters, embracing digression and subverting norms of storytelling in ways that would probably please fans of Thomas Pynchon.
The audio is surprisingly booming and the image, while lush, suffers from inky blacks and the occasional edge enhancement.
For this DVD release of Reprise, a bunch of featurettes have been fashioned from what was obviously a mass recording session with cast and crew: "Casting Reprise," in which the two male leads explain how they got their jobs; "All in Trier's Details," in which director Joachim Trier explains the Anglo-American portrait traditions he was trying to evoke through his close-ups; "Anecdotes," in which cast and crew deliver just that; and "Love's Not Easy," in which Anders Danielsen Lie delves into the psychology of his sex scene in the film. More amusingly, "So Sorry" allows editor Olivier Bugge Coutté to splice together all the scenes from the film during which an actor muttered the word "sorry." Rounding out the disc is a bunch of deleted scenes and previews.
Yet another reminder that the Academy's Foreign Language branch doesn't know shit.